2009 WRX: Another Subaru Failure?

Wow, it seems things are getting quite scary with the new 2009 WRX. Numerous failures throughout the country have already been reported, and to us it seems like only a matter of time before Subaru hopefully issues a recall of some sort. At least, that would be the honorable thing to do.

As a very active Subaru enthusiast, I’d like to make a statement in which I believe can now be considered a fact amongst the Subaru community: Ever since 2007, Subaru has been having well-known and widespread issues with their vehicles.

Let’s start at the beginning: The 2007 STi. The 2nd year of the hawk-eye STi looked great cosmetically, touching up on a few 06 changes, but under the hood it certainly had issues. When the first reports of failures made their way to the forums, people blamed a number of things including: insufficient fuel pumps, stuck/broken injectors, incorrect gaping/clearances, weak pistons, and finally, an improper factory tune. (causing a lean condition)

Taking all of these with a grain of salt, a final cause was never “officially” released. (and to this day, it’s still very unfortunate it had to go down this way) Subaru opted to handle the issue on a case-by-case basis. My opinion? The car came with weaker pistons, and a crappy factory ECU tune. This tune supposedly met certain EPA standards, something Subaru clearly wanted to adhere to. In doing so though, they created a tune that ran very lean, up until boost kicked in. Although it was too lean, and therefore adding tons more air from a turbocharger only makes things hotter, and worse. The common remedy to fix this issue? A new shortblock. Sure, it’s “free”, but an engine failure such as this should never happen on a brand new car.

But let’s move on. Next up? The 2008 STi. 

The 2008 STi made it to an even higher level of embarrassment. And by that, I mean a stop sale. The 2008’s started failing left and right, and finally this time around Subaru caught on. First up, they issued a new ECU flash. Basically they sent out a letter stating there was a flaw in the ECU programming, and that you should go to your dealer ASAP to get the newly issued tune flashed to your ECU. During this time, they also handled actual failures on a case-by-cases basis, with no official recall.

After some time, they finally issued a stop sale of all 2008 STi’s. Long story short, there were some rod-knock issues present, along with the previously standing lean-condition ECU tune. The stop sale basically halted the sale of any 2008 STi from any dealership. During this time, dealerships with inventory were instructed to inspect the oil on every 2008 STi that was up for sale. Cars that passed were released for sale, and the ones that stayed behind, well, who knows where they are now.

Next up is the 2009 WRX. Same thing, different day. This time, it appears to the be the rod-knock issue followed from the 2008 STi, and is now affecting the 2009 WRX. We’ve heard numerous suspicions about the cause behind this, and we still aren’t sure which we should set our minds on.

Any ideas? Leave us a comment! We’d love to hear from more Subaru enthusiasts!

Also, there’s a large thread going on over at NASIOC. For any 2009 WRX owners: I highly suggest reading this thread, and checking back here for any continuing updates on this issue. The thread can be found here: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1648372. It’s very saddening though. Within the thread, there is a current count of 14, 2009 WRX owners, who’ve experienced motor failures. Sure, NASIOC may have thousands and thousands of members, but how many of them actually own a 2009 WRX? Realistically, probably not very many. Therefore, this current figure of 14 is quite surprising, as we consider it to be a high number.

Overall, it seems Subaru needs to get their game back together. Sure, US Forester sales may be up 64%, but that doesn’t mean squat if the car is going to fail. In the long run, it’s only going to hurt your business. As a whole, it’s also very surprising because many consumers purchase a Subaru for one thing: reliability. For now, it’s only a matter of time to see what Subaru does to get that back.

[ Article written by STi Blog ]

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